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Department of Finance

Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Budget

Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Budget Cover Page

A Message From Mayor Sanders

To my fellow San Diegans,

It is my pleasure to present the City’s Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2009. This budget document provides detailed information about the revenue and expenditure forecast for the City in the coming year. It also addresses the significant fiscal initiatives described in the comprehensive Five-Year Financial Outlook that I released in January and reflects the ongoing process of reform I have implemented at the City.

The Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Budget accomplishes two primary goals: 1) the City will continue to provide essential core services in the current fiscal year, and 2) address priority financial obligations, many of which were ignored or under-funded by previous administrations. Because of the regional economic downturn, the City’s revenue growth will be lower than previous years. This important factor, combined with increasing municipal financial obligations, has created an environment in which certain difficult trade-offs had to be made.

The City of San Diego will continue to provide its residents with dependable municipal services. Some departments, such as our Police and Fire-Rescue Departments, will be receiving budgetary increases. In other cases, additional funds have been dedicated to new facilities or operations, such as the six new park facilities that the City will open and operate during Fiscal Year 2009. Overall, library and recreation center hours will remain the same.

The total budget for Fiscal Year 2009 is $3.13 billion. This includes $1.19 billion for General Fund operations and $1.35 billion for operation of the City’s Enterprise Fund and other fund activities. Another $587.0 million is budgeted for capital improvement projects across the City. A complete copy of the budget is available on the City’s website at

Restoring the City’s fiscal stability has been my top priority. The Fiscal Year 2009 Annual Budget continues the City’s progress toward that goal. In the coming year, I will once again dedicate additional funding to eight significant areas of concern that had been neglected or under-funded in the past. These areas include funding for:

  • The City’s Pension Plan
  • The City’s General Fund reserves
  • The City’s deferred maintenance and capital improvement needs
  • The City’s Retiree Health-Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB)
  • The City’s obligations under Storm Water Runoff Permits
  • The City’s obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The City’s Workers’ Compensation Fund reserves
  • The City’s Public Liability Fund reserves

I have also directed budget adjustments be made to provide additional staff and resources to support improved brush management, public safety helicopter operations, improved public emergency call response times, and new park facilities scheduled to open throughout the City in Fiscal Year 2009.

For the first time in history, performance measures and information about existing workloads for each City department are provided in the City’s budget document. This new information will assist in the decision-making and adoption process for the new budgets and continues my commitment to improving transparency and accountability at the City. It will let everyone know how money is being spent at the City and what can be expected from those expenditures.

This budget yields the elimination of 57.82 FTE positions from the City’s payroll, saving $4.7 million over previous budgets. This is in addition to the $50.0 million in permanent savings I have already established by cutting 668 positions in previous budgets. The position cuts I have included in this budget are part of my ongoing effort to streamline the City’s workforce and will help reduce the layers of management that have built up at the City over many years.

Positions Cut in Fiscal Year 2007 38.00
Positions Cut in Fiscal Year 2008 629.71
Positions Cut in Fiscal Year 2009 57.82


*Equivalent to 9.4 percent of all non-public safety jobs.

The reductions also come as a result of the softening regional and State economy. Like everyone who has been affected by the downturn in housing markets and the increasing cost of goods and supplies, the City has had to adjust its budget to accommodate these changing economic conditions. When making cuts and program adjustments for the coming year, I have looked to reducing the City’s workforce first, before recommending changes to public programs and services.

I have worked successfully with City management to develop a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2009 that will allow the City to provide the essential core services needed by San Diego residents. It will also help repair the City’s structural deficit and will continue to streamline the City’s workforce by reducing layers of management.

In the past twelve months, the City has also made extraordinary progress in bringing its long-overdue financial reports up to date. Thanks to the work done by the City’s new financial management team, we have been able to release Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports with unqualified external audit opinions for the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 fiscal years.

The release of these reports enable the City to access the public credit markets to finance more of the long-delayed infrastructure improvements. The positive impact of these reform efforts is already evident as Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Service have revised their credit rating outlook on San Diego from negative to positive or stable, which is a very important step toward rebuilding financial stability for the City.

This new budget illustrates just how far we have come since I took office just three years ago. It shows how we have changed how the City manages its finances and how we have refocused our attention to providing core services and meeting our essential financial obligations. I think you will find this description of the City’s budget more accessible and more transparent than ever before.